According to Alabama-based singer-songwriter Wes McDonald in the liner notes of this very CD, Terry Ohms is “a half-Eskimo pagan monk who writes songs and catches fish” while living in a big old igloo near Nome, Alaska. Whoever Ohms may be, he certainly knows how to crank out short, sharp bursts of stripped-down, grunge-folk distortion that are a fine accompaniment to McDonald’s often bittersweet lyrics. Less broad in scope musically than McDonald’s indie-smart solo efforts but no less energetic, Ohms skillfully bashes out songs on his guitar that bring to mind a punk Townes Van Zandt with tunes like the darkly amusing country lament “Flat Line” and the vengeful gunslinger epic “The Gymnast, the Preacher and the Devil”, while raucous numbers like “The State Called” evoke the cavernous recordings from the early days of British Beat music. It’s really a shame this Arctic recluse couldn’t have stayed down in Birmingham a little longer and recorded a few more tracks for his 23-minute debut album. Or better still, cut some of his own tunes even if they’re not “indigenous” to the State of Alabama. But never mind, until then there’s always McDonald’s 2006 release, 1:50 in the Furnace to enjoy as well.
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// Notes from the Road
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